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No Gods No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  575 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The first English translation of Guérin’s monumental anthology of anarchism, published here in one volume. It details a vast array of unpublished documents, letters, debates, manifestos, reports, impassioned calls-to-arms and reasoned analysis; the history, organization and practice of the movement—its theorists, advocates and activists; the great names and the obscure, to ...more
Paperback, 700 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by AK Press (first published 1965)
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Dec 06, 2012 rated it liked it
This is an anthology of anarchist writing from around the 1830s to WWII and the quality of the selections in it vary greatly. Hodge-podged together you get a pretty good idea of early anarchist theory and also how the anarchists included hardly agreed on what anarchism is, not unlike republicans, democrats, communists, socialists, libertarians, etc... The book starts with Nietzsche's contemporary Max Stirner an interesting dude with a whiff of Ayn Rand in him who was all about the individual, (t ...more
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Being a fan of anarchist history and theory, I’ve always looked for the all-encompassing go-to book on the subject. The anarchist bible, if you pardon the blasphemy. I think I might have found it in No God No Masters.
Now this book is no obscure collection either. I think it ranks high on lists of must-reads for those interested in Anarchism, so I don’t know why I’m just now picking up this book. I’m a slow learner I guess.
In this book, Guerin proceeds to not just collect the essential writings o
Jan 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An excellent anthology of writings on anarchism by Stirner, Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta (a personal favorite), Voline, Goldman, Makhno, and others. This is libertarian socialism in its various incarnations being described by its most eloquent defenders. I think the major power of a work like this is to help understand the discourse on anarchism in its historical context. Seeing the relation of the development of ideas like collectivism, anarcho-communism, and revolutionary syndicalis ...more
Apr 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Yes. This book thrills me on so many levels. I go back to it again and again for hope.
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I can't honestly say that I liked reading this. I actually really hate reading stuff like this but that's my own fault because I should've known better. Anthologies are always mind-numbingly repetitive with little more than a bunch of vague generalizations and inspirational speeches and shit. Probably should have gone with something like Demanding the Impossible instead. Some stuff is still interesting though like the arguments between advocates of a "workers' state" and those advocating a "fede ...more
Josiah Miller
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great anthology of some unpublished and smaller pieces from early anarchism. This is not a good anthology for someone trying to start or get into anarchism as this is better as a companion guide through history and particular instances and feelings in anarchism at the early points in time of anarchism. A lot of focus on communism and communist ideas on anarchism as Guerin was an Anarcho-communist. Again this is a great supplemental guide through some of the most important figures in anarchism. ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Oof! A gratifyingly chunky tome containing some great stuff from Bakunin and Proudhon (which was why I bought it), and introducing me to some writers that I really enjoyed: Voline, Goldman and Guillame. But the anthology isn't well put together- for example, very little from Voline's own pen, but stacks of stuff written about Voline's imprisonment by lesser lights. Guerin's commentary is also a bit sloppily written, but I'm not sure if this is him or the translation.
A useful pick'n'mix if you kn
Jun 29, 2009 rated it liked it
It is an anthology, so the writing quality varies a lot between parts and some of it is a chore to get through. However, this is a really good intro the anarchist history and thought. And I learned about some things I knew nothing about before. I also marked the hell out of the book, especially the Proudhoun and Bakunin parts.
Jan 11, 2009 rated it liked it
I am setting this book aside for the moment because my brain is going to explode if i read anymore dry-ass anarchy essays. But it is pretty sweet.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Good selection of articles. But a bit strange. Some important Anarchist papers are missing while others are just not relevant....
Chris Connor

“Revolution and Reaction” - Errico Malatesta
“Anarchy” - Errico Malatesta

First essay lays out his various definitions of revolution and how organizing without authority is possible, natural, and essential.

“Organization is only the practice of cooperation and solidarity, the natural and necessary condition of social life, an ineluctable fact of forcing itself upon everyone, upon human society generally as well as upon any group of people with a common aim to strive for.”

There is a lot of m
Jun 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: rad-lit
I never actually fully finished this book, but during the first person of time, I was reading part two (released separately), and then I read part one and bits of part three later when I got the whole collection in one book.

I was really interested in the writings of Bakunin when I read this. But even still, much of this is tough to read for a couple of reasons:
1) it’s mostly old, dead, white men—reading them has its value, but it’s definitely important to read more contemporary anarchists who ar
Aug 26, 2020 rated it liked it
From a layman's perspective, with only a passing interest in the subject, this book is a heavy tome. I took a while to finish reading it but the content is top-notch. I felt some parts of it are a bit dry and serve more to give context and historical evidence of the movement, which probably targets a different audience than myself.
It gives a very good overview of the evolution of anarchism throughout the years and provides highlights of the thought of some key figures/moments in the movement an
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard work, some of it is very dry indeed, but it’s a really fantastic collection that goes deep into the history of anarchism.

The writing of Proudhon and Bakunin were particularly striking. Proudhon had a lovely way with words.
Papilina Jefferson
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE this book
Steven L
Sep 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Of interest, but too light on theory to be properly billed "an anthology of anarchism." ...more
Apr 25, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk
A weird personal book. Somebody (Guerin) decided he likes anarchy so much that he needs to make a book about it. Inside there is a strange mix of biographies and excerpts of the most important books of certain authors. The text is not well referenced. And in the end you get a good inside into what Guerin feels of anarchy and almost nothing about the anarchist movement. The same way some have tried to make a coherent system of gods out of the anarchic (pun intended) set of cults and temples in an ...more
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spring-2008
Reading this anthology together with Carl Schmitt's Political Theology dramatically changed my experience with anarchist authors of 19th and 20th century. Proudhon, very much like Schmitt, recognizes the legal paradoxes of liberalism and puts together a thorough criticism that reminds one of Schmitt's comments on democracy. Given the opposing assumptions that Proudhon and Schmitt begin with in their understanding of human nature -Schmitt follows Hobbes and believes that human nature is evil, whe ...more
Mohammed Khogir
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A prodigious work detailing the evolution of anarchism. I have always been interested in the question of social justice and felt a kindred spirit with Marxism but i could not bring myself to accept its authoritarian principle. Then i fell upon some of Peter Kropotkin's books on anarchy and i was deeply enamoured by the spirit of comradery and fraternity explicit in anarchist thoughts. This anthology of anarchism by Guéren served to deepen my respect for anarchists and their endeavour towards the ...more
Jul 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really good, but hard to recommend unless you have at least a passing interest in anarchism and the patience to read political philosophy. However, it's not all just philosophy and propaganda - most of these authors were also actors in the revolutions and social movements of the 1800 and 1900s. The historical context of all of these essays is really interesting, and I think it gets especially good when it comes to addressing anarchism during and after the Russian revolution. It's hard to tell if ...more
Steven Peterson
Oct 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
A nice compilation of excerpts from a number of libertarian thinkers. "Volume One" features works of Max Stirner, P-J Proudhon, and Mikhail Bakunin. Volume 2? More Bakunin, Peter Kropotkin, and James Guillaume . Volume 3. Errico Malatesta, Emile Henry, French anarchists in trade unions, Voline, the Spanish Collectives, and so on. Volume 4 features Nestor Makhno, a discussion of Kronstadt, anarchism and the Spanish Civil War, Durrutti and his thugs.

All in all, a fairly detailed introduction to th
Pippypippy Madden
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dry as toast, and the translations are sometimes really weird, but overall, I think it is an important collection of writing by anarchists. In general, you can't go wrong with Bakunin and also Kropotkin. I particularly enjoyed the short selection from Emma Goldman's recollections of Kropotkin, upon his death. ...more
Nov 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As you might expect from an anthology of anarchism, the organization of essays, squibs, etc. is a little loose. You need to have the main texts (such as they are) to make sense of No Gods, No Masters, although there is some difficult to find stuff in here too. In short, a hodge-podge, but good and nourishing nevertheless.
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Don't judge a book by it's cool cover. Over 700 pages and Guerin didn't even think to feature any anarchist women in his book (despite a few essays being included), but devoted around 100 pages to the misogynistic and anti-semitic Proudhon. There are some good things in here, but if you use it as a primer for well-rounded anarchist thought, you will be sorely missing out. ...more
Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great compilation. There's a two book version of this, but I prefer this one. Great introduction to classical thinkers, has long excerpts from the main books (Property is theft, ego and its own, etc) Even includes malatesta if i remember correctly, durruti or something on spanish civil war, etc. ...more
Feb 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, anarchism
It's a collection of important texts from the anarchist tradition, but as was I think said in a review above, the choice of the texts (mostly influenced by their rarity, I precise) still is questionable for a few ones. Anyway this book can be considered as a must-have on an anarchist bookshelf. ...more
Jul 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Classic collection of revolutionary, anarchist thought
May 18, 2008 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Almost finished. So far so good!!
Aug 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
A wide ranging anthology on anarchism. Excellent collection.
Craig Bolton
No Gods No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism by Daniel Guerin (2005)
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Daniel Guérin was a French anarcho-communist author, best known for his work 'Anarchism: From Theory to Practice', as well as his collection 'No Gods No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism' in which he collected writings on the idea and movement it inspired, from the first writings of Max Stirner in the mid-19th century through the first half of the 20th century. He is also known for his opposition ...more

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